lunes, 23 de noviembre de 2020


In this chapter we will write about projectors that are moderately priced, easy to find in Europe and capable of not only making good projections, but also recording good sound.

The favorite of Italian S8 filmmaker Luigi Petrin
Elmo ST 1200 HD-2 Tracks is the best in the ST series with the ability of reading two tracks, optical sound 150W lamp and open swing type lens hloder. Reel capacity is for 360 meters reels (1.200 ft). 

1.1 as standard, twin track magnetic and optical track

This version is better than the old one because, in addition to being able to reproduce the two soundtracks (although not in stereo, except with an external amplifier), it can project silent movies or with magnetic sound with the magnetic head raised. When this happens, however, some units gradually lose the lower loop: this does not happen with my Elmo ST1200, fortunately, and it is already said out there that there are no two Elmo STs identical. 

More modern and handsome, although much more plastic,the Elmo GS800 Stereo, with stereo sound, but the lamp here is the most modest  100 W one.  The standard GS800 is without optical sound. On the back, the knob for fine adjustment of variable speed, a must-have feature for dubbing movies from DVD 

Both models of projectors from Elmo are able to do atonishing pin sharp projections with the optional Elmo lenses (1.2, 1.1 or 1.0), whose performance is said to be superior to the Xenovaron f 1.1 11 to 30mm. But, care!, one of these lenses can cost you more than the projector itself! 

The Fujicascope SH9 has also optical sound and fine adjustment of variable speed, but only can play the main magnetic track. The projection gives a high standard of picture steadiness, absolutaly rock-steady,  with fully contant speed and no trace at any time of "wow" on the sound, even from films with many splices. A much-appreciated feature of this projector is the ease with which a partially-run can be unthreaded, in seconds, without damage or marks on film. 

Alex is looking a brand new Minolta 7000, the favorite of Marwan Mozayen

There are several clone machines of the Fujicascope SH9, as the Yashica P810 (or 820 only without optical sound), the Minolta 7000 or the Yelco 605, 607 or 610 models, but whithout variable speed.

The Sankyo 800 Stereo, with 150W lamp,  that can be found cheaply and, if you're lucky, with the optional 15-30mm 1.0 lens, sound quality is very good. The Sankyo 800 has an additional feature: it can transfer sound from one track to the other without connecting any cables or external accessories, something that only can do certain projectors much more expensive. 

The Yelco DS 810 MT Quartzmatic is one of the most interesting mid-range projectors: this is the "features down-sized" of the Fujicascope SD20 (model that was not sold outside of Japan). It comes with a modest 1.3 lens, but can be improved with any Fujinon 1.0 or 1.2 zoom lenses.

Focusing knob works smoothly without backlash.   The 810 Quarztmatic can record the sound on both tracks  and, in addition to fine speed adjustment, it has a quartz mechanism that allows it to be synchronized with other devices with absolute precision. A very useful feature is the slow running button wich held pressed, the projector runs at only 5 f.p.s., so is very easyy to get a particular frame in the gate.

The sound-on-sound mixing facility can be done automatically by programming the memory film counter, with the buit-in recording audio-start auto stop. 

A comprehensive range of input sockets is provided, allowing for mixed imputs; and low-level output sockets are provided for each atrck (thus making it possible to reproduce stereo tracks using an external amplifier).

The "crono" or mechanical head (gate/claw projection system) is the same than in Fujicascope SD20 machines and  gives a incredible steadiness,  with  insuperable sound stability, without "wow" on the sound, even from films with many splices. Also, the film can be unthreaded in seconds, safely.

This projector use also the powerful 15V 150w, and, and as the pull down of the claw is very fast, light on screen is amazing (specially with f 1.0 lens).

Modificacion for 360 meters (1200 ft) take up reel

The 810 Quartmatic is originally distribuited for 240 meters reels but as you can fit 360 meters in the feed arm, easily, in less than an hour, you can remove a rear guide, so the projector can also accommodate 360 meter take-up spools. Rewinding is very fast. 

Of other mid-range projectors, such certain models of Eumig and  Noris, due to special importance of these European brands in the world of cinema, they will be described in a separate chapter.

THE PROJECTOR TO AVOID. One of the worst mid-range Super-8 projectos is the Chinon SS1200, called the "poor man" GS1200.

 The specifications are NICE IN THE LEAFLET AND IN THE WINDOW DISPLAY BUT... I remember the disappointment when I saw the Chinon SS1200 in person first time, when studient: very plastic appearance, not very good quality, with even the pressure pad made of plastic,  and difficult to clean. 

But all in all, the most disappointing was its electronic conception, with a tangle of cables inside that made it more like a Chinese product than a Japanese one.

In Japan, Chinon barely sold any product, quite the contrary than in United States or Europe, where it was marketed not only with its brand, but with many others. In England, exclusive sales were then made by almighty Dixons, the largest chain of photographic stores, until, at the end of the 1990s, Perry's Movies bought all the inventory that remained in Spain to offer to British filmmakers.

I used the Chinon SS1200, in late 1980s, to record the sound in some family movies, until I discovered that it produced slight scratches on the film!
Thanks to its variable fine speed adjustment,  I also used it to  record the sound in Spanish in two Red Fox feature films from a VHS-dubbed video as a source, until I discovered with horror that the sound recorded with the SS1200, as it has narrower than usual magnetic heads, if the films are projected with another machine, you can listen to the original sound recording in the background!

It is, the  Chinon SS1200, a projector that looks good on paper, but, in practice, what they have done in Chinon is to dress their well-known small very cheap models in a large way. The Chinon SS1200 reminds me of those fake Ferrari, with cheap plastic Ferrari bodies on VW Beetle chassis.
Something as simple as disassembling the lens for periodic cleaning requires watchmaker skill, including  the rear on the built in screen! Given how hidden the lens is, the SS1200 cannot project anamorphic movies.
This projector is interesting only as a good example of a device that tried to popularize the Super-8 at a low price, but I could no use it with expensive and irreplaceable films.

  • CONCLUSION. Considering features, reliability and price, in this kind of mid-range of projectors, my recommendation would be to buy the Yelco DS810 MT Quartzmatic

This series of ten articles is a digest of the one published in the international magazine SilverGrain Classics, are described the most interesting projectors to buy, depending on the use they will be put to. 
Originally published in SilverGrain Classics

Part 3 of 3, click here

1 comentario:

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